“I want to leave while the magazine is on top,” Carter told The New York Times. “I want to leave while it’s in vibrant shape, both in the digital realm and the print realm.”
The famous editor, known for his influence on the magazine and entertainment world as well as his glamorous celebrity coverage, said he plans to leave the publication in December to start what he termed as a “third act.”
“I’ve loved every moment of my time here and I’ve pretty much accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted to do,” Carter said in a company statement. “I’m now eager to try out this ‘third act’ thing that my contemporaries have been telling me about, and I figure I’d better get a jump on it.”
Starting as editor-in-chief in 1992, Carter headed the magazine through some of its most renowned stories, including the unmasking of “Deep Throat,” The Washington Post‘s anonymous source during the Watergate scandal back in 2005, as well as the “Call Me Caitlyn” cover, featuring the transgender television star and retired Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner in 2015.
Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2016
Late last year, Vanity Fair’s new subscriptions increased 100 fold after a tweet from president Donald Trump targeting the magazine, in which he stated that the magazine had “really poor numbers.”
Made clear by Trump’s negative tweets toward the editor, Trump and Carter have a long, combative history with one another. Following the negative commentary, the magazine incorporated Trump’s tweet into its digital marketing campaigns, promoting a banner ad on its site that read, “The magazine Trump doesn’t want you to read. Subscribe now!”
Condé Nast has made no official comments on who will succeed Carter as editor-in-chief. However, he told The New York Times he has some suggestions in mind, not naming names.
“I want to make it really easy for the next person,” said Carter. “I care about this magazine. I don’t want it to go anywhere other than up.”